Archive for the ‘Podcast’ Category

AV Rant #542: HDMI Port Serial Killer

June 16th, 2017 No comments

Our Listeners of the Week are Jose S. for writing to SVS to let them know his Prime Bookshelf and Ultra Center speaker purchase was largely due to our advice, and Will T. for writing to Accessories4Less to let them know his Marantz SR6011 AV Receiver purchase as an AVRant recommendation.

In the news, Apple announced AirPlay2 and the HomePod Siri speaker. Tyler F. sent us word that Samsung will introduce 82-inch and 88-inch QLED TVs that they claim will be less expensive than rival OLED displays.AtGames announced Atari 2600 and Sega Genesis Flashback consoles. And Microsoft announced Xbox One X is coming Nov. 7 for $500.

Nathan D. says to double check the bottom of your mic clip for a threaded adapter, and he also got a reply from Marantz USA saying they still don’t have any official news about Dolby Vision pass-through. Michael S. shared news of Aperion Audio’s Father’s Day Sale. Samuel P. wants to give a shout out to Marantz for standing behind the warranty of refurbished products purchased from Accessories4Less. And Alan S. has some really good reasons for loving vinyl, and some very reasonable advice for getting and preserving the best sound quality when playing records.

Nick B. is leaning towards completing his 7.2.4 speaker setup before buying an HDR projector. He asks about the availability of Atmos soundtracks via streaming services, as well as a list of Blu-ray and UHD Blu-ray discs with immersive audio. We also discuss whether it’s worth waiting for HDMI 2.1 in AV Receivers, and which speakers would be a good choice for the overhead positions based on their dispersion. And Bill C. has had a large number of HDMI ports die on him recently, and we’re fairly certain it’s due to an energized Cable TV coax cable.

Justin B. wants a Hi-Res Audio Player with streaming that can power a wide range of headphones, so we discuss his candidates of the Pioneer XDP-100R, Pioneer XDP-300R, Onkyo DP-S1, and Teac’s selection of headphone amps and players. Infinite Gary wants to know how we evaluate which amplifiers will perform best with certain speakers, and gets our speculation on when we’ll see laser-driven, genuine 4K resolution projectors for less than $10,000. And Brian A. wonders if he should opt for an older model of Martin Logan electrostatic speakers with a slightly larger panel vs. the current ESL X model.

Will T. has four smaller subwoofers, and he isn’t sure if Audyssey MultEQ XT32 with SubEQ HT is getting him to set the correct volume knob positions on each of them. We go through the process, as well as how to set the volume readout on his Marantz SR6011 so that 0dB will indicate Reference Volume. And we suggest SVS PC-2000 subwoofers as an appropriate choice for his room size. Jason P. asks whether the video quality from Netflix streaming is different depending on the hardware you’re using. And Bill C. gets our opinions on single-driver, full range speaker designs.


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AV Rant #541: Surprise Guest

June 9th, 2017 No comments

Our Listeners of the Week are Mark, Vincent, Nathan, and David for their donations. Mark and Nathan also let SVS and Cross-Spectrum Labs know their recent purchases were thanks to our recommendations.

In celebration of AVRant’s 10th Anniversary, we welcome former co-host Liz back to the show! We get to catch up on what she’s been up to, and chat about her current home theater situation. Wonderful to talk with her again.

In the news, LeEco laid of 70% of its USA workers as they retreat from the American market. Early reviews of the inexpensive TCL P-Series with Dolby Vision and Roku are encouraging. Oppo UDP-203 & 205 Ultra HD Blu-ray players are the first to support Dolby Vision with their latest firmware update. And Optoma UHD60 and UHD65 4K HDR10 DLP projectors are priced at $2,000 and $2,500, respectively.

Earle B. felt we gave Justin some bad advice regarding vinyl record playback, so he shares his setup and experiences for our discussion. David B. compared for himself, and settled on a new Vizio E-Series display. It doesn’t have a TV tuner, so we recommend a Mohu Antenna and HDHomeRun network tuner, with the TiVo Roamio OTA, Tablo, Hauppauge TV Tuner for Xbox One, and Channel Master as alternatives. He also wants to make one of his subwoofers wireless, so we suggest the Outlaw Audio OAW4 Wireless Audio Kit. And John W. has a Denon DBT-1713UD Universal Disc Player that no longer supports YouTube, and he wants to know who’s to blame.

Nick B. is agonizing over the layout of his basement home theater, so we discuss dealing with a support pole, seating arrangements, door placement, soundproofing, and HVAC. Vince H. has dual SVS PB-2000 subwoofers, but a large enough room that he’s not getting full pressurization. We talk about walls and doors in terms of air pressure vs. soundproofing, as well as simply getting higher output subwoofers. And Dan N. asks for our opinions on Proficient Audio speakers.

Robert G. wants further clarification about any potential dangers with plugging an amplifier into a voltage regulator. Devon G. wants two pairs of better headphones and would prefer wireless, so we suggest the Sennheiser RS 175, or Sony MDR7506 with a Samson QH4 Headphone Amp and the Outlaw Audio OAW4. And Dave has an indoor pool with a 5.0 moisture resistant surround sound system. He’d like stronger bass, so we suggest marine subwoofer drivers.

Michael M. would like the ability to use Bluetooth headphones as well as HEOS with his Denon AV Receiver, so we go over why he’ll need to send a stereo audio signal from any sources he’d like to use. We also comment on how many speakers to use for an Auro-3D “Voice of God” channel. Kevin A. wants an extremely high output Center speaker, and we think the Power Sound Audio MTM-210C would be an excellent choice. And Damon P. wants a good projector with a quiet fan for gaming, and for his $2,000 budget, we think the Sony VPL-HW45ES is the top choice.

Troy T. upgraded his Living Room speakers to Ascend Acoustics Sierra-2, and now he wants better speakers for his theater, though not quite as expensive. He’s already considering RBH Impression and ELAC Debut, so we add suggestions for Ascend SE Series, Aperion Intimus, NHT Super Series, and KEF Q Series. We also reveal why we’re using Tower or very large stand-mount speakers ourselves. John B. is concerned about future discs or streaming services exclusively using Dolby Vision for HDR and abandoning HDR10. And Jim B. wants greater convenience using some vintage Technics gear with old school bouncing lights. We think a cheap headphone amp and a power strip with master and slave outlets are just what he needs.

Lance H. had an Xbox One audio problem that mysteriously solved itself, but he still has a question about his Marantz SR6010 front display, as well as wanting to know some of our favorite demo discs. Mike wants to add subwoofers to his sound system for the first time, but he wants to use external EQ, so we go over a couple of different connection paths. And Nathan D. has been disappointed by the experience of visiting several high end audio shops. We speculate about why they don’t want to move equipment around, why A-B comparisons are made difficult, and some potential tactics he could use to hopefully improve his next visit.


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AV Rant #540: Story of Proudness

May 26th, 2017 3 comments

If you would like to be a Listener of the Week, visit and click “Support AV Rant!”

In the news, Kris P. let us know that Xbox One S now supports Amazon Video in 4K and HDR. HD Guru posted a mostly positive LeEco uMax85 Ultra HDTV review. And the Denon X1400H and X2400H HEOS-capable AV Receivers deliver nice feature sets, although not quite as wireless as some outlets first reported.

Roberto C. reluctantly rewired his sound system, and doing so fixed his Receiver’s “protection mode” issues. Larry L. gives a shout out to our Producer Austen for his tireless work on our AVRant YouTube Videos. And our occasional guest host, James Bujold, shares some photos of his new TV room.

Mark H. asks if ceiling mounting a projector is superior to a shelf on the back wall, and how he can keep absorption panels behind his speakers if he mounts them on shelves or uses VideoSecu Side Clamping Speaker Brackets. Nathan D. asks if a cable box plugged into a HEOS-capable AV Receiver can deliver its sound to other HEOS speakers, and we mention buffer latency and TV Sound Grouping as points of interest. And Michael V. is getting into whole house audio in an open concept home. We strongly recommend to him: RBH in-ceiling speakers and RBH in-ceiling LCR, Power Sound Audio Sealed subwoofers for price and size concerns, a Monoprice Monolith amplifier for his most demanding rooms, and Dayton Audio Multi-Zone amplifiers everywhere else.

Aqun wants to know if the Oppo UDP-203 Ultra HD Blu-ray player will let him play Ultra HD Blu-rays on his non-HDCP 2.2, non-HDR projector, mainly so he can enjoy the immersive audio. Jonathan F. gets clarification about “7 channel stereo” vs. “Multi channel stereo” listening modes, and he read an interesting novella called “The Invisibility Cloak” about an audiophile installer in China. And Ty W. clarifies his room’s layout for us, and asks about potentially using a “hush box” over a rear shelf mounted projector.

Adam P. uses an HD Fury Integral to send signals to his HDCP 2.2 projector, non-HDCP 2.2 AV Receiver, and optical-audio-only Sonos Playbar, but he needs more HDMI inputs, so we recommend the Sewell SwitchDeck 4K 5×1. Nick B. wonders about “studio accurate” headphones, whether projectors will ever support Dolby Vision, and how HDR projectors look dimmer than HDR flat panels, although proper JVC UHD HDR settings can help with that last part if you’re using one of their projectors. And Infinite Gary questions some of the wording in Oppo’s manuals, asks what happens to Atmos and Audyssey if you use 7.1 analogue audio connections, and wants to know why 2-channel content doesn’t make his subwoofer play unless he sets it to “LFE+Mains”.

Brandon G. wants good surge protection, but has concerns about voltage regulation with subwoofers and amplifiers, so we recommend the APC J35B with its six battery backup outlets and two surge-only outlets. Raul R. has a large room, a limited budget, and a list of available subwoofers in Mexico that prompts some advice that might be a bit tough to accept. And Rob W. has to combine his billiards room and home theater, so we discuss his layout and speaker configuration, recommend the LeEco uMax85 or 80″ Vizio M-Series, talk about door options, and recommend Outdoor Speaker Depot MK650 in-ceiling speakers or Monoprice Caliber in-ceiling speakers along with the previously mentioned Dayton Audio Multi-Zone amplifier or Emotiva A-800 for affordable distributed audio in the rest of his basement.


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AV Rant #539: Bro Fist Bump

May 19th, 2017 1 comment

Our Listeners of the Week are Daniel, William, and Marc for their donations.

In the news, TCL announced their P-Series LCD TVs with Roku, FALD, Dolby Vision, and low prices.

Bill C. and Daniel M. both jumped on our advice from last week and bought themselves Harmony Hub-based remotes.

Dan S. wants excellent 2.0 desktop sound from small, affordable, USB speakers, so we suggest the AudioEngine A2+. He’s also looking for a 1080p Ultra Short Throw projector, so we recommend the NEC U312H (or ceiling mounting a regular home theater projector). Wesley M. likes BrickWall surge protectors and wants to know why we don’t talk about them. And Henry asks about SPL Meter readings and subwoofer trim level settings.

Luke has a small room, and he wonders how important it is to have a subwoofer that can play down to 20Hz strictly for music. He wants smaller, more affordable subwoofer options, so we suggest the HSU VTF-1 Mk3, RSL Speedwoofer 10S, and Emotiva BasX S12. Ty W. has his basement room stripped down to the studs and wants our recommendation for which Atmos speaker layout will be best for him. And Infinite Gary asks about upmixing content when you have an Atmos setup, as well as our thoughts on IsoAcoustics isolation stands.

Topher H. has a row house and wants speaker and subwoofer suggestions. We suggest Ascend Acoustics HTM-200SE or NHT Super Series speakers with either an SVS PC-2000 cylinder subwoofer or Dual SVS SB-2000. Christopher M. wants to upgrade to Ascend Acoustics speakers. Tom thinks he should start with a Front pair, while Rob thinks he should get L/C/R Sierra-1 with the option to get Sierra-2 Upgrade Kits later. And Tara B. is replacing a small speaker package in stages at a time. For under $500/pair speaker we suggest: RBH Impression R5Bi, Focal Bird, KEF Q300, Ascend CBM-170SE, SVS Prime, Aperion Audio Intimus, or NHT SuperOne 2.1. And we also discuss layout and acoustic treatments for her room.

Justin B. wonders why his vinyl isn’t sounding as good as he remembers in his new setup. He asks about closed-back planar headphones, where we agree the Audeze EL-8 Closed- Back are a top choice. We mention Tom’s favorite company name for headphone amps like the Schiit Audio Magni 2 or Schiit Lyr 2. And we give out a ton of under $1,000/pair speaker suggestions, including: SVS Ultra, Aperion Verus II Grand, KEF R100, Focal Aria 905, Emotiva Airmotiv T1, Paradigm Monitor, PSB Imagine, Energy Veritas, Salk Song, Mission, Dali, Linn, and Monitor Audio. Jonathan F. asks about the Legacy Audio Wavelet and some of the exotic speaker designs at AXPONA. And Earle B. wants a flagship Receiver with a “7 channel stereo” listening mode, so we suggest the Yamaha RX-A3070.

Cesar D. has a question about pronouncing “timbre”. Jefferson G. is getting noise and interference in his audio and video that seems to be coming from his motorized projector screen. And Ted M. gets our thoughts on the SUBPAC wearable tactile transducer.

Marc N. is going from maximum lumens to maximum performance in a 1080p projector, so we recommend the Epson 5030UB. Mahi has an acoustically transparent screen and wants to know if he should use three Tower speakers or two Towers and a horizontal Center. And Neil F. has an LG plasma TV and wants to know how to deactivate its overscan.


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AV Rant #538: A Coat for Every Seat

May 12th, 2017 No comments

Our Listeners of the Week are Brandon and Tyrone for their donations, as well as James C. and Tara B. for telling Outdoor Speaker Depot and Accessories4Less that their purchases were thanks to our recommendations.

In the news, Nick B. let us know that the Rythmik FV18 subwoofer and Outlaw Audio Ultra-X13 THX Ultra Certified subwoofer have both started shipping. And two more Dolby Vision Ultra HD Blu-ray titles were announced.

Karl R. and Joshua M. shared articles about the growing use of IMAX cameras and formatting for blockbuster films and THX certifying Cinemark XD theaters. Josh S. details his friend’s insanely loud theater, including a short video demo. And Josh Z. pointed out that Dolby Atmos test tones up to 9.1.6 can now be downloaded from their website.

Earle B. asks if there’s an industry standard for grading Ultra HD Blu-ray discs, and wonders if he should adjust his Oppo UDP-205 player on a disc by disc basis. David B. has a basement theater with a permanent opening, and he asks about subwoofer options. And Roberto C. discovered a tweeter pushed in by one of his kids, so he asks if it’s worth repairing, and we mention Emotiva, SVS, NHT, and KEF as options with at least partially covered tweeters.

Russell L. gets some clarification about the pre-out settings on his AV Receiver. Jonathan F. asks about some confusing descriptions of the HSU CCB-8 speakers and how they ought to be positioned in a room. And he also asks about etiquette when overhearing a sales pitch.

Jonathan S. is building a theater with a six foot opening, so we discuss door options and bass pressurization. Mark O. is warming up to his RBH Impression Series Towers, but still wants to know why they produced some distortion when sent a full range signal. And P.J. asks about laying subwoofers on their sides, and what would pair nicely with his SVS PB-1000.

John M. shared a SMPTE presentation on Cinema Audio Standards, and he asks if the guidelines are applicable to home theater. Alvin C. upgraded his AV Receiver, and he asks about Surround and Surround Back speaker placement, Front Height speakers, subwoofer phase setup, and acoustic treatment ideas. And Bob S. wonders if there’s a way to make the various services and apps on his NVidia Shield all output audio at the same volume.

Bill C. gets our recommendation for a Logitech Harmony Hub based remote, and we also mention Control4as a more advanced and expensive option. Tate L. has ambient light and seats off axis to the left and right of his display, so an older LG 65EF9500 OLED TV might be a slightly more affordable option. And Nick B. gets some clarification and offers some suggestions for adjusting the phase of dual subwoofers, which reminds us to mention for bass sweeps with Markers.

Daniel M. gets our suggestion for an NVidia Shield Pro to make sure he has an IR receiver for use with a Harmony Remote. John B. needs a powerful subwoofer for under $1,000, so we suggest the Power Sound Audio 15V. And Tom K. gets our speculation on why some of his HDMI inputs on his AV Receiver worked with HD audio bitstreams while others did not.

John W. asks if he should buy a bigger TV, and if so, how big. Monty N. asks whether he should be concerned about the upcoming HDMI 2.1 specification. And Scott R. gets our advice to take advantage of the free two-way shipping offered by SVS and Aperion Audio, as well as auditioning as many speakers from local stores as possible.


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